When Dorine Rausch was a little girl, her grandmother would always say, “Whenever you hear sirens, say a prayer. Every time you hear sirens, someone is in trouble.”
“And I still do,” Rausch, 58, said. “When my pager goes off, right away I say, ‘Lord, whoever needs help right now, please be there before I am.’”
Rausch, a member of All Saints-St.Mary Parish in Holdingford, is celebrating her 20th year this year with the Holdingford Fire Department and Rescue Squad. She also works as a nurse at CentraCare Clinic in Albany.
Bishop Donald Kettler wants to recognize the work of Rausch and others who serve as first responders. He will celebrate a “Blue Mass” Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. People of all faiths are welcome.
“Our police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel make many sacrifices to serve us and our communities in our greatest times of need,” Bishop Kettler said. “They put their lives on the line for our benefit. This Mass is an opportunity to thank them for their willingness to serve, show our support, and pray for their safety. It’s a tradition that I look forward to every year.”
Rausch always knew she wanted to be a nurse and for a long time felt called be part of a rescue squad. Once her four kids were in junior high and high school, she decided it was the right time to look into it.
She went to the local station and inquired, learning that if she wanted to be part of the rescue team, she would also have to join the fire department.
Rausch was involved with the Boy Scouts and participated in a 70-mile canoe trip. Two of the local firefighters also were on the trip. After watching her portage the canoes across heavy terrain, one of the firefighters approached her and asked her if she was still interested in being part of the department.
After returning from the trip, Rausch received a visit from local law enforcement who hand-delivered the application, which she completed.
As she was headed to the interview, she had second thoughts.
“About a block away, I turned around and came back home. My husband said, ‘What are you doing here? You’ve wanted this for a long time.’ So I prayed and said, ‘Lord, please don’t give me something I can’t handle,” Rausch recalled.
She and two men were given physical challenges including rolling and flattening a hose, a balance test wearing the large boots firefighters are required to wear and carrying a person on a cot. All three made it onto the department.
Over the past two decades Rausch has relied a lot on her faith serving as a firefighter and EMT — from holding hands and praying with the family of a young man who had just died of a heart attack to welcoming a new baby into the world.
“It’s very rewarding to help people and be there for them,” she said, “especially during such a critical time.”